Interfaces on Trial 2.0

From The Information Society Series

Interfaces on Trial 2.0

By Jonathan Band and Masanobu Katoh

Foreword by Ed Black

The debate over the use of copyright law to prevent competition and interoperability in the global software industry.





The debate over the use of copyright law to prevent competition and interoperability in the global software industry.

We live in an interoperable world. Computer hardware and software products from different manufacturers can exchange data within local networks and around the world using the Internet. The competition enabled by this compatibility between devices has led to fast-paced innovation and prices low enough to allow ordinary users to command extraordinary computing capacity.

In Interfaces on Trial 2.0, Jonathan Band and Masanobu Katoh investigate an often overlooked factor in the development of today's interoperabilty: the evolution of copyright law. Because software is copyrightable, copyright law determines the rules for competition in the information technology industry. This book—a follow-up to Band and Katoh's successful 1995 book Interfaces on Trial—examines the debates surrounding the use of copyright law to prevent competition and interoperability in the global software industry in the last fifteen years.

Band and Katoh are longtime advocates for interoperable devices but present a reasoned view of contentious issues related to interoperability issues in the United States, the European Union, and the Pacific Rim. They discuss such topics as the protectability of interface specifications, the permissibility of reverse engineering (and legislative and executive endorsement of pro-interoperability case law), the interoperability exception to the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the interoperability cases decided under it, the enforceability of contractural restrictions on reverse engineering; and recent legal developments affecting the future of interoperability, including those related to open source-software and software patents.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262015004 248 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 1 figure, 2 tables


Ed Black.


  • A very valuable contribution to the literature on interoperability, this book is a one-stop-shop for those who want to have a comprehensive view of the legal debate, its current state, and how it got there. As this issue continues to be of great practical as well as theoretical importance, the book will serve as a resource for the many lawyers, software engineers, and managers who need to know the state of the interoperability landscape.

    Pamela Samuelson

    Richard M. Sherman Distinguished Professor of Law and Professor of Information Management, University of California, Berkeley; Director, Berkeley Center for Law & Technology

  • Interfaces on Trial 2.0 provides informed inside accounts of many intellectual-property policy developments that simply are not accessible anywhere else. In passage after passage, the authors succeed in making difficult, technical, or abstract concepts clear and concrete. The book represents a model for engaged scholarship in this relatively new area of specialization, and should be of great interest not only to specialists but also to general readers interested in the future of technology policy.

    Peter Jaszi

    Professor of Law and Director of the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic, American University